Tuesday 25 March 2008

Why Blog?

I recently had an unsolicited email which took me to task for blogging. I quote the email because it made me think, again, why do I write this blog?

WHY, WHY, WHY do bloggers think that anyone is particularly interested in YOUR life or YOUR opinions of whatever arts performances YOU have just seen?? Wow. YOU just fed the cat??? This insane burgeoning of Internet blogsite self-referencing importance is really annoying... and very frightening. It simply endorses egotism and narcissism run amok. Robert, really, you have apparently no end of self-related opinions concerning performing artists who have seemingly STOLEN something from you. You really need to let go of that garbage---and talk to someone.

Regarding the main complaint, my fundamental position is of course that no-one has to read this blog, you can simply ignore it. I have been writing reviews for web sites for quite a number of years. I started the blog as a means of gathering together the links to my various reviews. It expanded because I use it also to additionally review performances which are not covered in my other web-site reviews. Whilst, on the one hand, this can be seen as a form of self indulgence, on the other hand given the preponderance of performances in London it is difficult for any publication (whether print or web) to cover all of them. Take the recent performance of Bach's St. John Passion at the Barbican with Ian Bostridge as the Evangelist. I saw no print reviews or major web reviews of this concert. So web sites such as my own add a layer of critical cover which would otherwise be missing.

This site has, of course, an additional purpose. I am a composer and performer and use the site to record and publicise my compositions and performances. Such sites are useful as a means of promoting my work and also bringing together useful information for anyone seeking to learn more about my compositions. This isn't a personal blog, you won't learn much about my personal opinions, except when they impinge on musical ones; though I do occasionally allow myself the self indulgence of a rant about something in the musical world which annoys me.

If the above quote strikes a chord, please feel free to add a comment, I am always interested in people's opinions. But fundamentally, if this blog is not of interest (and I really hope that it is), you can always not read it!


  1. Geez ... that was harsh, eh? I just blogged a wee bit about it at oboeinsight.com if you want to know my reaction.

  2. Boy, that e-mailer sure is full of opinions on blogging! I'll do a post on this as well--this is the exact sort of thing that makes my blood boil. Thanks, Patty, for leading me to Robert's blog, and congratulations on keeping your cool enough to put out a level-headed post about this guy, Robert.

  3. Anonymous6:34 pm

    Please don't be discouraged by this obvious axe-grinder, and do keep blogging. As an opera and concert addict, I always like reading your blog and especially the reviews. As you say you often pick up events that the newspaper reviewers overlook, and you always have something thought-provoking to say about them.

  4. Anonymous8:46 pm

    Sounds to me that someone is jealous of your opinions...

  5. Anonymous4:05 pm

    They should get over themselves.

    As you say, they are not obliged to read it.

    I like reading the views of bloggers on performances that I have been to, and not. I benefit from you blogging. That's a good enough reason for you to do it :-)

    I blog because I have a need inside me to write. I tend to restrict the more personal things to my paper diary, but in writing about performances, knowing that my writing will be open to public scrutiny, I force myself to think more deeply and try and be a little bit objective.

    I have made friends through blogging. Eg at the Ring Cycle, I shared dinner and drinks at various times with people I met via blogging, which as well as being nice, has a practical benefit. In general, it's nice that as a result of blogs and newsgroups people can go to operas and concerts alone and meet up for a natter with others, from where friendships grow.

    I write a lot about Plácido, and I have a lot of readers who are fans of his. I find a lot of material on the 'net and when I miss stuff, my readers in all sorts of countries bring it to my attention, in the expectation that I will bring it to the attention of other fans. Of course, your emailer might consider this unimportant, and in the grand scheme of things, it is, but I think most people would feel that ease of exchange of information between people with a shared interest, irrespective of what that interest is, is a positive.


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